Jackie Chan-Esque fight sequences meet with beings with apocalyptic potential in Marvel's newest film. A goofy sidekick, a scary sister, and tasteful use of Chinese culture make for a must-watch movie.
By Benjamin Noel
In a post-Endgame Marvel Universe, there seems to be no need for new heroes. Falcon and the Winter Soldier made short work of the Flag-Smashers, an organization that sought to destroy borders. The Scarlet Witch came to terms with the reality of her loss and moved on from her grief-fueled alternative reality. But none of these heroes could fathom, much less overcome, the threats of 3000-year-old evil powers locked in a realm not accessible to the outside world.
A normal valet, Sean, lives in San Francisco, parking cars by day and spending nights at karaoke bars with his friend Katy, played by Akwafina, until they pass out early in the morning. Sean speaks multiple languages and Katy has an honors degree from Berkeley, but neither seems to have a direction in life. That is until Sean is jumped by a group of thugs surprisingly well trained in martial arts.
He takes them on in a fight scene that is reminiscent of the action in Rush Hour with a few twists. And that’s when we learn that Sean is really Shang-Chi. Who woulda thought? We learn that he is no ordinary man, nor is he a superhero. His skills have come from a lifetime of training and dedication to honing his mind and body. That’s what makes this film different from most other comic book movies. The world did not fall in Shang-Chi’s lap, no, he bled, sweat, and cried for every last bit of strength, skill, and knowledge he possesses. And his lifetime of training, along with certain family ties, thrust him into the center of a world-ending threat that he must take down.
I highly recommend this movie to anyone who is a fan of 80s and 90s martial arts movies. The action in this film did not disappoint, and it had the best fight scenes of all the Marvel movies I’ve seen. The choreography, the creativity, and the well-balanced opponents in every fight scene made me jump up in my seat in anticipation, a feat that only a few martial arts movies have accomplished.
There are no preset winners in any of these fights, there is no Hulk to smash around Loki, and every match-up could have gone either way. Also, if you were a fan of Black Panther and Wakanda, this movie is for you. In Shang-Chi we visit another realm that was able to prosper without contact from the advancements of outside modern technology. The fights and the lore within this movie made it worth the watch. You don’t need to have seen any other Marvel movie to watch this one, but if you have, be prepared for a couple of cameos from characters from previous movies, dating back to Iron Man III.
Overall this movie was a great stand-alone film in the Marvel Universe, but it’s not a reach to say we’ll be seeing Shang and his friends again very soon. So buy your tickets and strap in for two hours of action, comedy, and ancient lore. You won’t be disappointed.
After a year of Tik Tok’s rapid success, influencers from the app are looking to establish their career in the industry. From creating music to designing clothing lines, Tik Tok influencers are working past 15 second videos to make their names known.
By Isabelle Delostrinos
The internet has changed the game of becoming famous. It has given us famous bloggers, Youtubers, Instagrammers, Viners, and more. Influencers from various platforms reach a certain point in their career where they can venture past the one that built them. Liza Koshy gained momentum on Vine back in 2013, which opened up opportunities such as acting, hosting television shows, and creating her own makeup brand. Another example of this would be Youtuber Jake Paul. He scored a role on Disney Channel’s Bizaardvark and is somehow now a boxer.
Within the past year, the social media platform that creates instant celebrities has been Tik Tok. The app was released in February 2019 as a merge with Musical.ly. It acquired all of the existing users, making it a seamless transition for the platform. Similar to Vine and Musical.ly, users could record and edit short videos to songs and sounds. This created a meme-able environment, appealing to audiences of all ages. The app already proved its success by sustaining over millions of users just a year after its release. But the global lockdown mandates skyrocketed Tik Tok’s popularity, making it one of the most used apps in 2020.
An influencer that rose from Tik Tok was Charli D’Amelio. In the heat of the pandemic, D’Amelio was known for her effortless dancing. Short choreographed dances to current songs was a strong trend on the app, and D’Amelio was labeled the queen of this. Posting daily videos and collaborations with other “Tik Tokers” grew her fan base to 124.1 million followers. As soon as it was possible, D’Amelio made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and even collaborated on a Tik Tok dance with J. Lo. Her rise to fame allowed her to move her family out of Connecticut and into the heart of the industry, Los Angeles.
The D’Amelio Show recently debuted on Hulu, being one of the first shows to be based on a Tik Tok celebrity. The show consists of thirty five minute episodes following the lives of Charli and Dixie D’Amelio. The family looks to use this show as a way to let fans and the public into their lives. Not everything is as it really seems, and the first episode sheds light on some of the issues that come with rapid success and internet fame. Along with the show, the family works to expand their empire by creating their own clothing lines, continuing partnerships with makeup brands, and jump-starting Charli’s dance career and Dixie’s music career.
Besides the D’Amelios, another Tik Tok star looking to create a space for herself in the industry is Addison Rae. After dropping out of college and moving to Los Angeles,Rae founded her own makeup brand Item Beauty. She was later seen hanging out with Kourtney Kardashian, which stirred the internet up with this unexpected friendship. Last month, she made her acting debut as the star of Netflix’s He’s All That reboot. And these are just some of the actions Rae has taken to grow her resume.
It seems as though we are witnessing Tik Tok stars finding their niche in the actual, real world entertainment industry. Some are trying out a music career while others design their own merch. But it looks like the wave of Tik Tok influencers to celebrities will continue to grow these next few years. This past April, it was rumored that Netflix would be releasing a reality show based on the Hype House, a content creator house containing Tik Tok influencers. Facebook Messenger looks to promote one of their new features, Watch Together, by streaming creator Avani Gregg’s personal talk show. Although these influencers may not be known outside of their beloved Tik Tok posts, they are definitely working hard to make their mark and create a lasting career in entertainment.
A New Retelling of the Classic Story
By Remy Zerber
The new Cinderella movie starring Camila Cabello is a very good adaptation of the original movie. This is Camila Cabello’s acting debut. The movie is modernized because it has some themes of female empowerment. The music in the movie is good because there is something for all ages. The new Cinderella movie starring Camila Cabello is a modern take on the classic fairytale, which has something for everyone.
This new adaptation of Cinderella has many examples of female empowerment. One example is when Cinderella says she doesn’t want to marry the prince because she would be giving up everything she likes to do for him. This teaches young girls watching the movie that they should put their own happiness before anything else and they should not sacrifice everything for a man.
Cinderella also makes a dress and sells it by herself. This teaches girls that they should not wait for anyone to do anything for them. They should do everything for themselves. A third example is when Cinderella wears a blue pantsuit. Her fairy godmother, played by Billy Porter, puts a pantsuit on her, which is a symbol of a business woman. This teaches girls that they should chase their dreams like Cinderella, since she is actively pursuing her dream of becoming a fashion designer.
People of all ages will like the new Cinderella adaptation because of all the songs from different generations. There are songs by Janet Jackson and Queen for older generations and songs for younger people like “Material Girl'' by Madonna. These songs make the movie appeal to all age groups, making it more successful. It probably sold more tickets and made more money because of the music and the appeal to all age ranges.
The cast of Cinderella is incredibly diverse. Billy Porter plays the fairy godmother, also known as Fab G in this version. He is a gay, Black man from Pennsylvania. He plays a genderless fairy godmother in this adaptation. He says his character is genderless because “magic has no gender” and his character is magical. Camila Cabello, who is of Cuban descent, plays Cinderella. This is a nice change from all the blonde Cinderellas and shows young girls that anyone can be a princess.
Clearly, the new Cinderella movie is a modern version of the classic fairy tale that everyone can enjoy. It is a feminist version that empowers young women and girls by showing them what women can do through characters like Cinderella. The music in this movie is good because it appeals to all ages. The cast is also very diverse. The 2021 version of Cinderella is very entertaining and empowering for young women.
Its legend precedes it for a passion project with decades of development behind it; rumors of a movie epic with an outlook which has spanned potent eras of recent history have been reinvigorated with new updates on the financing and progress of the project, along with creating a new cast for a time in which movies are coming around to seeing their cherished re-opening dates reached.
By George Donovan
Dreaming is believing for Francis Ford Coppola, the world-renowned director of such groundbreaking movie legends as The Godfather and Apocalypse Now. At 82, his unique, decades-in-the-making epic is ready to catch the wind of the resurgent world of new film visions returning to preparation, execution, and the celebration from audiences and critics across the planet.
The enormous and enigmatic project, Megalopolis, which has been hinted at many times through the years, is a retelling of Ancient Rome’s Catiline Conspiracy, which pit the patrician Catiline against Cicero in the former’s chance at overthrowing the Roman Republic, supercharged with the beating heart of a futuristic modern New York.
Following Apocalypse Now’s release in 1979, capping one of the greatest filmmaker’s runs of all time with 4 lifetime achievement-worthy movies to his name released in the decade, Coppola took a heavy hit in the early ‘80s with the troubles of his Zoetrope Studios project, and smaller movies followed through the years to come. But plans for Megalopolis picked up in the following decade, with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Jack, and The Rainmaker, three of his biggest hits in the 1990s, all produced to build a steady funding for the dream project in box office returns and studio persuasion. These developments came to a head in early 2001, with the announcement of Megalopolis at the Cannes film festival, floated by reports of dozens of hours of street sounds and Manhattan architecture already shot as second unit footage. Further hints, swirling around close friend and peer George Lucas’ Star Wars Episode I’s technology and filming techniques coming into Coppola’s hands for the heady production, promised an unparalleled movie experience.
“I think the big news here,” Coppola explained to Deadline last month, “is that I am still the same as I was 20 years ago or 40 years ago. I’m still willing to do the dream picture, even if I have to put up my own money, and I am capable of putting up $100 million if I have to here. I don’t want to, but I will do it if I have to”.
With Coppola spending his recent years re-releasing some of his most popular films, including new cuts and re-releases of his most famous movies, he’s hoping to put together a version of the new project that can be created at $100-125,000,000, a budget with which he’s committing to beginning principal photography next Fall with a cast for the 2020’s.
Among the actors being contacted and looking to sign onto the project include Forest Whitaker, Cate Blanchett, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Lange, and even James Caan, who made history with Coppola in his Oscar-nominated role of Sonny Corleone in the original Godfather. Zendaya and Oscar Isaac, two other stars looking to make it into the cast, have been busy over the past few years with Dune, another ensemble epic with the word “masterpiece” being shared and passed around among early critics who attended the film’s premiere at the Venice Film Festival in early September. With the success of that movie, opening October 22nd, suggesting the draw of a big cast to return in upcoming projects, the updating casting efforts for Megalopolis are re-imagining the conflicts of the story and characters for a new generation.
Coppola’s confidence in funding for Megalopolis comes at a time where these dreams can come true, such as in the case of ‘70s peer Martin Scorcese, who’s own passion project, The Irishman, had swirled through drains of financial backing from different studios and production companies for years before finally settling to receive a funding and distribution from Netflix; The Irishman’s release in November 2019 was one of the platform’s biggest prestige movie hits, showing their support for the technology and scale which Scorcese’s visions demanded. But with the new positions for partnering private financiers, coupled with the sales in his vineyard holdings and winery outputs through the years, the beginning of a refurbished Megalopolis interest machine and one massive last hurrah for Francis Ford Coppola may pay off, and a legend will come to life to light up a rebounding industry, real and rolling at last.
The Circle brings social media and online interactions to the big screen. Netflix brings the popularity contest to the next level with a $100,000 grand prize.
By Isabelle Delostrinos
Calling all drama TV and reality show lovers: The Circle is back and is thrilling as ever! This social experiment turned game show has become a hit and is quickly climbing Netflix’s Top 10 list. Group chats, catfishes, and challenges, what’s not to love about The Circle? This game tests the group’s abilities in establishing their online presence, and the most favored player at the end receives $100,000. That’s a huge prize for just trying to make new friends! The name of the game is pretty simple: make sure everyone likes you so they don’t vote you out, but the strategic side of the game brings the show’s drama to life.
The format of the game is fresh and unique. To enter The Circle, players are free to be whoever they want to be. They can play as themselves or catfish as a strategic move. Their profiles include information such as their hometown, relationship status, biography, and photo album. It is all up to the contestants on how they want to present themselves and what characteristics they think will be the most favored. The only way players can interact with one another is through the chat. They can create private or group chats to form alliances and snoop around for information about what is happening in “the circle,” but they have to be on high alert at all times. One slip-up can cost them the game. At the end of an episode, players are asked to rate each other. The top two players become influencers and get to choose who to “block,” or vote out from the show.
Throughout the show, players are cut off from civilization and have to isolate themselves in their very well-furnished apartments. Players do not have access to their phones or the internet during their stay in “the circle.” Activities like puzzles and coloring books are distributed, but their form of entertainment is mostly just chatting. But never being able to see or hear your opponents makes the drama that much more suspenseful. Important factors like voice tone and facial expression are lost. A message can be sent with good intentions but be received negatively because of miscommunication. Commentary from the players during chats and challenges also make the show entertaining. Although they are constantly alone, each player narrates their every move and thought for viewers to hear. These moments keep viewers invested as they watch their favorite players finesse or fool their opponents.
Although this show is just for fun, the premise of the game sums up the reality of social media. The players cater their profiles and chats to their peers to become the most liked in the group. Many of these same habits are evident in real life like choosing the perfect profile picture and the way we chat with others. Some even go the extra mile by catfishing and creating a disguise for themselves online. It's ironic to watch a game show based on online communication and self-isolation while being in a global pandemic. Online chats and direct messages have become an essential way of meeting and interacting with new people within the last year. Seeing how players navigate the game can influence viewers to reflect on their own approach to social media.
Season 2 of The Circle is now completely updated with thirteen episodes up for viewing. This season features the quirky and comedic Michelle Buteau and a guest appearance from Jonathan Van Ness of Queer Eye. The personalities in this group range from celebrity assistants to coffee shop baristas, and even an experienced game show player, Chloe Veitch from Too Hot to Handle. If you need a show to pass the time, give this one a shot. It's light-hearted with amusing drama and a sprinkle of funny, cringey moments.
By Remy Zerber
Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate all mothers. Mother’s Day is a chance for children to appreciate all the hard work their moms do, but it is going to be a little different this year because of the pandemic. Fathers can help their children plan a special day for their mom. Before COVID, multiple families could get together and have brunch together. Now that everyone has to be careful of the virus, it is not possible to celebrate in the normal way. Luckily, it is still possible to celebrate in a Covid-friendly way by giving gifts and protecting yourself so you can do it properly.
Even though we are in a pandemic, we can still celebrate Mother’s Day in a Covid-friendly way. One activity that kids can do for their mom is to serve her breakfast in bed. Breakfast in bed is always appreciated because then moms can sleep in while the kids make breakfast with their father’s help. This is a good activity for Mother’s Day in 2021 because it does not require leaving the house. Another good activity is having a Mother’s Day picnic outside. This is a good idea because Mother’s Day is in May, which means it is usually warm out, and the CDC recommends that people sit outside and eat so there is proper ventilation. Masks will still need to be worn. People can still go out to brunch for Mother’s Day but they will have to wear a mask. There are many safe ways to celebrate during the pandemic.
One of the other best parts of Mother’s Day is giving gifts to show your appreciation for your mom. Flowers are a classic gift to give on Mother’s Day. Mothers love flowers so this is a great gift idea. Another great gift idea is new clothes. This is a great idea for moms who love fashion. If you don’t have a lot of money, a free gift idea could be having everyone in the family write out a card and make coupons for chores. That way, the mother can redeem a coupon every time she wants someone to do a chore. Gift giving is still possible during the pandemic because it does not require going to a store or mall. People can just buy the gifts they want online and they will be delivered to your doorstep.
Even though COVID-19 is still a major problem in the world, there are things people can do to protect themselves against the virus so they can be more active on Mother’s Day. Every state has different COVID restrictions. People should listen to the restrictions in the state or county that they live in when making their plans for Mother’s Day. For example, in Shasta county, the risk of the virus is still pretty substantial, so only some non-essential indoor businesses like restaurants are open. In San Mateo county the virus is moderately severe so some businesses are open with modifications like wearing a mask and outdoor seating only.
It is still possible to celebrate Mother’s Day under the circumstances. Mother’s Day celebrates all the hard work mothers do for their families; however, this year will be celebrated differently because of the coronavirus pandemic. Although it is sad that families can’t celebrate like they always do, they should be happy that they can still celebrate in a Covid-friendly way. Celebrating Mother’s Day is about the spirit of appreciating and honoring the work that mothers do. It is not about superficial things like gifts and spending money. The spirit of Mother’s Day is possible to achieve no matter what is happening in the world. As long as families are together that is all that matters.
History Department creates virtual webpage for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month showcasing the journey of this community through United States’ history and celebrating their culture.
By Victoria Vidales
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM) is a time to celebrate and honor the beautiful cultures of Asian and Pacific American communities. Throughout this month Saint Mary’s will be hosting several informative and educational events to alert the college community to issues that directly affect Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. During the past year AAPI communities have been severely racially attacked mainly due to ignorance regarding the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although these attacks are startling to the modern public, from a historical perspective the recent spike in racism directed towards AAPI communities is not a new occurrence. Instead, these acts are a part of a repeated sequence in a larger history of discrimination that directly targeted AAPI communities.
Asian and Pacific Islander Americans have been the victims of racial discrimination since at least the 18th century. The earliest documented racial legislation was in 1790 when the U.S. government imposed a statute that prevented immigrants who were not white from becoming U.S. citizens. This direct attack against AAPI and other people of color set a pattern for continued racially motivated legislation.
The passage of the Page Act in 1875 specifically targeted Chinese immigrants by prohibiting immigration of individuals that the government believed were entering for “immoral purposes.” This law was joined by the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which prevented immigration and citizenship for Chinese people, and the 1907 Gentleman’s Agreement, which excluded Japanese workers from immigrating to the U.S. Over time, the federal rulings only become more extreme, with the government passing the 1924 Immigration Act, which banned Japanese immigrants, and the infamous 1942 Executive Order 9066, which gave the order to intern Japanese Americans. These legislations are only a few examples of the many federal mandates that the U.S. government created in order to oppress AAPI people.
Although not confined to California, the recent spike in anti-Asian violence in California adds to a long history of state-wide discriminatory legislation and violence directed towards AAPI communities. Throughout the 19th century the California state government passed many forms of legislation that discriminated against AAPI and allowed for anti-Asian violence to occur without penalties.
In 1877 the anti-Asian San Francisco riots caused the destruction of numerous businesses and the death of four Chinese Americans. That same year several Chinese workers were murdered in Chico at Lemm Ranch by six white men. In 1906 Santa Ana’s Chinatown was burned to the ground by firefighters when it was deemed to be a “health hazard.” These are just a few examples of the horrific treatment that AAPI communities faced at the hands of their fellow Californians.
Saint Mary’s History Department has composed a timeline of legislation and known violence and hate crimes inflicted onto the AAPI community over the course of U.S. history to show how severely impacted the AAPI community has been by violence and racism. The History Department encourages all members of the Saint Mary’s community to attend events held throughout APAHM to learn and show support for the AAPI community and to contribute to the timeline to expand its usefulness as a resource for our community.
To explore the History Department’s page honoring Asian Pacific American Heritage Month please follow the link below.
Watch out Newsom, Caitlyn Jenner announces her candidacy for governor, stating that “California is worth fighting for.”
By Isabelle Delostrinos
After overcoming one of the most controversial presidential terms in history, a smaller pot of politics is being stirred up again. Former Olympian and reality TV show star, Caitlyn Jenner, announced her run for governor of California. Over a year since the pandemic was announced, a large number of Californians are looking to push Newsom out of office. The celebrity is grasping the opportunity that many other prospects have with Gavin Newsom’s recall, in hopes to get California back on the right track as the pandemic alleviates later this year.
Caitlyn Jenner has become an advocate and voice for the LGBTQ+ community. As an Olympian and well established celebrity, first known as Bruce Jenner, Caitlyn Jenner is applauded for the courage and bravery it took to reveal her true self in the spotlight. Jenner first announced her gender identity to the world in April of 2015. Since then, she has been recognized for her strength by receiving awards such as the Arthur Ashe courage award at the ESPYs and Transgender Champion at Glamour’s Women of the Year ceremony. Jenner became an important figure, sharing her story to represent LGBTQ+ individuals in an industry that rarely shines their light on this community.
It is surprising to see Jenner interested in replacing Gavin Newsom, but let's look back on Newsom’s career and how he has served the state of California. Newsom won the general election for governor in 2006. Prior to this position, he was elected as mayor of San Francisco in 2003. Newsom is part of the Democratic party and has played a role in many state advances through the years. For example, he signed off a bill that extended family leave from six to eight weeks, allowing more time for a family to take care of newborn children without compromising their jobs. He also signed a bill on rent control, capping the percentage that landlords can increase their rent by. Newsom’s efforts throughout his career are in respect to his state and the people who populate it.
But the COVID-19 pandemic has put Newsom in a sticky situation. Many Californians have disagreed with the way Newsom has handled the pandemic and stay-at-home orders. California was the first state to enforce these orders and shut down many businesses during the first few months of the pandemic. Small businesses received the short end of the stick with little to no financial support to cover their losses. Unemployment rates skyrocketed due to the phased reopening that was created by Newsom and his team. In November of 2020, he was caught unmasked while indoor dining at a restaurant with more than 10 people, the kind of scenario he discouraged during his weekly COVID-19 updates.
Newsom was looking forward to continuing his career as governor throughout 2022, but many have been pushed over the edge by his actions this past year. A petition of over 1.6 million signatures was submitted for the recall of Newsom. The state has not yet approved of the re-election. If they do, an election would be held this fall asking voters if Newsom should continue his position as governor. If a voter chooses no, a list of candidates would be provided for the voter to choose who the new governor should be.
Caitlyn Jenner is taking hold of this opportunity alongside many other established politicians, but it is surprising to see her interest in a political industry. It was found that Jenner has only voted a handful of times in her life, not even casting her vote for the controversial 2016 election that started Trump’s career as president. Her experience with politics and decision making for a population is questionable, and it would be interesting to see her efforts progress as we approach the fall.
By Maia Pagán
Why a list of the Top Ten presidents? Why not? Presidents come and go every four, maybe every eight years. The rating of Presidents is a reflection of the current societal perceptions, positive or negative. This rating is a snapshot of people surveyed randomly and their thoughts. Read on for some interesting, surprising, and intriguing insights.
The top 10 most popular Presidents of the United States rated from least to most favorite.
10. James Buchanan- James Buchanan is number ten on our list because he is known as one of the worst Presidents. Many believe he was overly sympathetic to Southern interests, such as being “ok” with slavery. He was the President right before Abraham Lincoln, so he seemed incompetent to do his job as President.
9. Andrew Johnson- Andrew Johnson is number nine on our list because he is best known for assuming the Presidency after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.
8. Franklin Pierce- Franklin Pierce is number eight on our list because he believed in enslavement. Why? Some of his policies may have helped push the United States into Civil War.
7. Barack Obama- Barack Obama is number seven on our list because he is most notably known for being the first Black President of the United States. He set a precedent for more people of color to work in higher-level positions in the USA Government.
6. Jimmy Carter-Jimmy Carter is number six on our list because he had no scandals, stood up to the KKK, and his historic peace agreement between Israel and Egypt called “The Camp David Accords.”
5. John F. Kennedy- John F. Kennedy is number five on our list because he is most known for being the youngest elected President of the United States. He is also the only President to receive a purple heart for his service in the Pacific during World War II and create new Civil Rights Legislation, which included banning segregation. John F. Kennedy is also known for his assassination, where he was shot in the back of his head during a motorcade at Dealey Plaza in Texas.
4. Franklin D. Roosevelt- Franklin D. Roosevelt is number four on our list because he is known for help creating favorable policies, like Social Security and Medicare.
3. Theodore Roosevelt- Theodore Roosevelt or Teddy Roosevelt is number three on our list because many people know him for helping create the National Parks.
2. George Washington-George Washington is number two because he is the first President of the United States and a Founding Father.
1. Abraham Lincoln-Abraham Lincoln is number one on our list because he is the most talked-about President. In the United States schools, he has helped free the slaves and be assassinated at Ford’s theatre by being shot in the head.
That’s it! Agree or disagree, it is the democratic thing to do!
Hollywood’s lack of diversity within executive, leadership positions in dominating media and production companies.
By Isabelle Delostrinos
The public has been holding the entertainment industry accountable for diversity and inclusivity within the last decade. The fight to bring more people of color on the big screen has resulted in some of the best films and top grossing movies. Black Panther was the best selling movie of 2018. The film featured a predominantly Black cast and crew, and even a Black director from our very own city of Oakland. Its storyline about a Black superhero and technologically advanced country that was powerful and was loved by many. History was made with Black Panther and raises the standards for the rest of the industry to tell inclusive stories in cinema.
Disney and Marvel have continued to expand their movie casts and crews with people of color. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse was based on the life of Miles Morales, a Black teenager in New York adjusting to his new life with spidey powers. Universal Studios distributed Jordan Peele’s Us, which featured a Black family escaping their frightening doubles. This is one of the few horror movies to feature a Black writer and director along with a Black family as the main characters. Stories created by people of color have broken the stereotypical roles minority groups are automatically placed in. The progress that the industry has made is important, and it shows through the successes of these movies.
Amidst the 2020 protests, many companies came forward to publicly state their solidarity with the BLM movement. They joined the movement to Black out Instagram by posting a solid black square and also tweeted statements to demonstrate their alliance. Disney stated “We stand against racism. We stand for inclusion. We stand with our fellow black employees, storytellers, creators and the entire black community. We must unite and speak out.” In a world with the internet and rapid information sharing, the public holds these companies accountable for their responses to current events. These actions reassure consumers that they are supporting people who share the same beliefs as them. But how much longer will Twitter statements be the acceptable action from these companies?
Despite the growing library of movies with a diverse cast and inclusive storyline, on screen representation isn’t the only thing the public is looking for. More people are bringing attention to the lack of diversity in higher level executive positions within the dominating entertainment companies. To stand with people of color means to also provide these groups with equal opportunity to be at these positions. Having people of color as high level decision makers and executives would help overturn the saturated industry. Allowing these fresh minds and different perspectives into these high power groups would be a breakthrough for the entertainment industry. The minority voice would be heard and power the change that entertainment needs.
Projects like Black Panther, Into the Spiderverse and Crazy Rich Asians have been well received by the public. Works by people of color are consistently successful and larger companies should recognize the talent these groups have to offer. Putting people of color in these power positions will only advance the company and appeal to a wider, diverse audience. We cannot deny the progress our generation has made with representation, but should keep pushing the issue to be diverse in all aspects of the industry. Statements of solidarity act only as reassurance, and cannot be the solution for so long. When these large, dominant companies include people of color into their executive positions, other industries would be influenced to do the same.
Melanie Moyer '22,